Yes I know – more boring autumn leaves. That’s all there is at the moment, I’m afraid. These, we believe are Beech leaves. Beech is one of those trees that is either a native species and should be cherished, if you are on that side of the fence, or an invasive species and should be uprooted as a weed, if you are on the other side. It probably arrived here just after the last Ice Age – the one that scrapped the soil and vegetation off most of Britain, so it is probably as invasive as any other vegetation we have.
In the days before paper, beech tablets were used to write on. You see what a stubborn, impatient bunch we are, why couldn’t we have just waited a bit? Even today the Swedish word ‘bok’ means both a book and a beech tree. The wood makes good firewood, splits easily and burns long and hot. You can make drums with it as it has a different sound to maple and birch, which are the other favoured woods. If the defence budget gets a bit tight and won’t stretch to walnut stocks for rifles you can use beech as a cheaper alternative.
Edward Bach felt that a tincture of Beech flowers was what is needed by overly critical, arrogant people.
Mrs Grieve notes that the ash of Beech leaves contains a high level of potash that is useful for making gunpowder.
Don’t try this at home kids – unless you’ve got a suitable adult to supervise, of course.